Code of Conduct - at DIF

From IIW

Code of Conduct – at DIF

Tuesday 1I

Convener: Balázs Némethi

Notes-taker(s): Karyl Fowler

Tags for the session - technology discussed/ideas considered:

  • Community building
  • correct behaviour
  • escalation of issues
  • training and promotion of awareness of CoC and adherence to it
  • Read document out loud together and solicited inputs.

Discussion notes, key understandings, outstanding questions, observations, and, if appropriate to this discussion: action items, next steps:

Notes from Karyl Fowler

This is the first time the “final” draft of the DIF code of conduct is being put in front of the community for review/comments/feedback and acceptance.

The CoC lives here:
Community members are encouraged to dive in and make comments/suggestions.
This doc was written by a small collection of community members over the last ~3 months and is intended to define conduct that facilitates an inclusive environment for building and growing together.
CoC Highlights:
DIF is an “open and inclusive environment”
Diversity is widely defined to include diversity in background, race, religion, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, culture, age, technical ability, etc.
“Diversity should never be put definitively out-of-scope or foreclosed as irrelevant to more urgent business.”
Currently relies on the DIF SC and the Working Group Chairs to help enforce this.
“Conflict can be explicit or implicit, and there are many ways to contribute to a suboptimal community dynamic that can lead to conflict.”
Document outlines specific examples of unacceptable behavior in attempt to define types of negative “conflict” that might arise and require intervention or escalation. These include things like: trolling, harassment, soft-doxxing, divisive tone, scapegoating, implicit delegation, emphasizing a majority/minority boundary, etc.
also outlines “dispute escalation and resolution mechanisms” in a tiered format based on severity of issue; these levels include:
  • 0 - addressing it privately
  • 1 - talk to someone else
  • 2 - reach out to the WG Chair
  • 3 - reach out to a chair of another WG
  • 4 - reach out to the steering committee [together w/ a WG chair]
  • 5 - the nuclear option
Data-based conclusion

Outstanding concerns:

It’s really important to disseminate this CoC to the larger community and ensure everyone is committed to adherence.
How can we ensure this is the case?
One item is to make this an “official document” via the Steering Committee at DIF
Can also include it in all of the meeting pages and on website
What are other “mechanisms of inclusion” that can drive enforcement?
critique - this document is an external mechanism of inclusion with no obvious mechanism of enforcement
critique - this community is often overly biased towards being too polite versus direct
Suggestion to put this on Github for community dissemination
It would be cool to be able to transparently see the suggested changes/comments
Also suggested that we adapt the IPR to give it an open source license since it is useful beyond our DIF community.
There are constraints re: JDF (the legal entity behind DIF)
Ways around this?
Shared goal is ensuring it is licensed for easy reuse.
Specific phrasing suggestions:
Change section under “Diverse” to explicitly “welcome community members regardless of how they identify” before getting into the list of potentially diverse attributes.
Folks will inevitably come up w/ things we’d missed; how do we mitigate the risk/fallout from that?
Critique: How can we account for cultural differences when doing business (e.g. providing direct feedback, etc.)
Unsure how to address this.
One of the ways to differentiate "aggressive" or "loud" language has to do with the words that are said. For example, criticizing an idea is fine, but criticizing a person is not fine.
The latter is addressed in document.
Critique: What is wrong w/ conflict? Conflict is necessary to come to agreements/resolve complex issues. We could be more precise w/ our language here.
Moderators are for this. Who are the moderators? WG chairs?
Healthy conflict is a practice; it’s not culturally ingrained in many people.
Conflict is fundamental in nature; ref: diplomacy and the art of assuasion - there is path to healthy conflict.
Examples of conflict types could be more specific - perhaps narrative or anecdotal examples

you don’t want a scapegoat, but you do want a devil’s advocate

Usability of this CoC is critical
It might be useful to define what types of discussions should be held in email, chat, calls, etc.

Resources to reference on other community CoCs:
Me2B is using Mallory Brown’s expertise/research to help support development of a CoC for their organization.
If they proceed, they’ll open the training up to anyone in the space who is interested in joining.
Contact Lisa LeVasseur for more info.
Program title: respectful technology begins w/ ….?
Can’t just give lip service; culture change is required.
Lessons from Rebooting Web of Trust’s attempt at implementing a CoC
failed miserably, but why?
initial impetus for creating the CoC arose from a specific issue that occurred in the community
the CoC did not require all org leadership buy in to buy in, address issues or enforce CoC
Overall, really great CoC content, but without leadership buy-in, there was no way to enforce it when issues arose
Lesson: must have DIF leadership (SC) buy-in - even full consensus?
Lesson: if there is an issue within the leadership [where a leader is the one actually causing the conflict], this must also be addressed
Enforcement requires modeling/leading by example
Awareness of one’s own biases is hard to achieve but also proves critical for enforcement/adoption.
Perhaps the CoC’s defined D&I + equity Training for DIF leadership mitigates this
Should training be expanded or offered to broader community membership?
Content of the CoC and enforcement are two separate initiatives
CoC works best when paired w/ enforcement mechanism
valuable to maybe model enforcement after “incident response”
there is a tension between necessity and practicality (when it comes to training, content, etc.)
some communities have a specially trained “incident response” team
this doesn’t have to be a large group; rather a small subset
critique of existing CoC setup: Chairs / committee are emphatically not the right people to handle incident response
So then what is the ideal makeup of this group?
How can we connect the value of D&I to business value?
There is a ton of research [some is referenced in the CoC as is]
Please add more!
Enforcement mechanism suggestion - have a rating system.
This can be implemented even mid-session
creates “herd enforcement” versus relying on a single individual or chair to be the sole responsible party
Plus this creates ongoing/historical statistics about who and how conflict is being created/persisting across the community
Critique for this mechanism: those w/ the least power in the room could potentially be further marginalized or singled out as the problem if the makeup of the room is not equally representative of all types of diversity [which is very difficult to control].
Have trained professionals.
Critique of escalation method levels:
Feedback is that many of these will not work, especially level 1
5 levels is too many. How can we streamline?
Should be more directive about contacting employers, “DO NOT DO THIS” vs “should not do this”
Also important to have possible implications defined for when you implement the escalation plan::
what happens after you….?
dangerous to rely on the SC and WG chairs to be the enforcers; this authority gets fuzzy/complicated
must recognize that conflict resolution under these circumstances requires mediating/brokering of those differences; this is hard.
Critique: this CoC if very long, yet the resources it is based on are very short
Is this a new CoC of DIF? One already exists - but it has been deemed insufficient [although it is accounted for in this new one]
Loudness and cultural difference,
Word thoughtful <---promising…. but not elaborated.
Perhaps consult with Bonita Banducci,, teaches graduate gender and engineering class at Santa Clara University, School of Engineering

A survey about community experiences with diversity and inclusion and equity to build a training for the community:

We are working on a Diversity and Inclusion Training - If you are interested in enrolling/learning more.

Notes from Kaliya Young:

Code of Conduct LInk

Zoom Chat (partial):

Heather Vescent: Would anyone be interested in hearing how the RWOT Code of Conduct was created and then dissolved? (I was involved in it.)

Lisa LeVasseur: 
We're also considering developing a code of conduct for Me2BA

Lisa LeVasseur: 
actually, I said that wrong: we ARE developing a cc for Me2BA

Jace Hensley: Related:

Grace Rachmany:

Grace Rachmany 
One of the ways to differ: ntiate "aggressive" or "loud" language has to do with the words that are said. For example, criticizing an idea is fine, but criticizing a person is not fine. I

From Jace Hensley to Everyone: (10:07 AM)

mahod mah: 
Grace: I’m moderating a rambunctious facebook group the past 2 months as a volunteer
there is a lot of aggressive language without name calling and it makes it harder to talk to each other about the topic (cover-19 science and attendant issues)

Grace Rachmany: 
Facebook's intrinsic design rewards that behavior.
 Grace Rachmany: 
If, as moderator, you do not have any way to kick people out, there's not much you can do

mahod mah: grace ++ you have to be able to mute and then block people who act out

Grace Rachmany: I like the idea of different types of sanctions, like first warning is just a warning, etc. there might even be a sanction that you can't participate in something until passing a training like the one Estee was just mentioning

mahod mah: 
Yes.. training is key. Either do it while examples are happening. And give say, 2 warnings before blocking, or train in advance.

Grace Rachmany: 
Agreed. I've also volunteered to help with this but I'm not very involved because so much of the work is ultra-geeky.

mahod mah: 
We have people agree to 10 codes of conduct, before they can enter the community
but they forget

mahod mah: 
over time.. so you have to train in the moment and model for the rest of the people in a thread

mahod mah: 
it’s time consuming and wearing.. so being able to ditch the bad quickly and fairly is also good

Grace Rachmany: 
Agreeing and knowing when you're being insensitive are two different things. Having roles of people who care for the group is one mechanism of keeping people ongoingly trained.

Lisa LeVasseur: 
yes, the training starts with seeing one's self clearly--understanding ourselves. @grace

Grace Rachmany: 
We also have to be careful about who we ditch. Often there are nutcases who are the absolutely most brilliant people. I feel we need to work on resilience as well-- how do we train the group together to manage those kind of people in real-time so that we don't have to get rid of people who are just socially un-trained.

Dmitri Zagidulin: 
I think the Chairs / committee are emphatically not the right people to handle incident response

Jeff Orgel: 
The idea of diplomacy enters in here.

mahod mah: 
That’s what moderators are for.. to manage the conflict and stand up for people who have trouble with it
and keep the discussion on track, on issues, without getting personal

Lisa LeVasseur: 
conflict is a practice

Grace Rachmany: 
Again, that's an issue of mechanism design. AGREED. Email is not the ideal mechanism for this type of discussion.

Lisa LeVasseur: 
BTW, i'm delighted with this work. thank you for tackling it and sharing it! _()_

Grace Rachmany: 
It might be useful to define what types of discussions should be held in email, chat, calls, etc.

Lisa LeVasseur: 
noted as another reference--you may have already used this:

Grace Rachmany: 
As we read that one I noticed myself making a face that could have been considered as a microaggression.

Lisa LeVasseur: 
Yes--need trained facilitators
or need to ensure they are trained and have demonstrated skills.

Dmitri Zagidulin: 
maybe follow that with a section like ‘Do Not:’
and actually list those